Beck Knob Cemetery
Local construction crews halt work after discovering grave plots within their work area.
It’s funny how a simple newscast can change the course of your day. After exiting the post office and returning to my car, I flipped on the local talk radio station to hear the local news. 10 seconds later and I would have missed this news blurb completely. However, Kevin West dropped a hint that a local construction crew discovered a long forgotten cemetery forcing bulldozer operators to halt their work.
I have visited Beck Cemetery many times but I wasn’t familiar with Beck Knob Cemetery. Using a GPS Cemetery Data-Set downloaded into my Garmin, I discovered the cemetery was a quick 5 minute drive from my location. I popped over to survey the cemetery and chat with the construction crew. Instead of workers, I found a news team busily filing their report. They seemed amused when they realized I study cemeteries. Within seconds they asked for (and received) my permission to be interviewed for their evening newscast.
Without proper planning, I felt unprepared to give an interview but the professional reporter lead me through the process fairly pain-free.
Beck Knob Cemetery is a family burying ground dating from the late 1800’s to the early 1940’s. The land was donated by a local land owner when he saw a need for burial plots for former slaves and their families. The ground has been maintained over the decades since the 1940’s but recently fell into neglect. Anyone who lives in the Chattanooga area knows Kudzu, which was brought into the area in the 1800’s to curb erosion of our steep hillsides, quickly overtakes plats of land. Kudzu has completely overgrown Beck Knob in recent years obscuring the cemetery from the construction crew’s visual inspections. By all accounts, the construction crews seem to be acting reasonably in their protection of the cemetery.
Though the cemetery is well known by residents of the area, I feel sure recent news coverage of the cemetery will prompt surrounding land owners to re-familiarize themselves with the cemetery’s boundaries.